SAM SMITH ON GREGG POPOVICH

“One of Gregg Popovich’s secrets in plain sight has been the way he builds a bench and employs them and trusts them so much during the regular season that he can rest his starters so much and still win so many games. He doesn’t have better reserves than other teams, and he loses guys regularly. But his players abide by their system of play and he relies on them and trusts them. It’s a big part of coaching (and running any successful business), making your employees feel a part of the organization and success and trusting them and taking an interest in their fate. “

PTRW #935 DEVIN BOOKER

“Not everybody can be the star player. Especially on a team like that (Kentucky) with so much talent. I figured if I just found my niche on the team that I’d be good and it worked out well for me.”

“The area I grew up in, Grand Rapids Michigan, everyone was fundamentally sound. Everyone had the fundamentals but not many people were athletic. So when I made the switch to Mississippi, it was the total opposite. More people there were athletic that lacked fundamentals.”

“I figured out that fundamentals will take you a long way. A lot of people have a lot longer careers.”

PTRW #934 DARREN ERMAN

“Being on the same page is probably the No. 1 thing defensively. If you eliminate confusion and everyone knows what they’re supposed to do, it’s really simple. If everyone is on the same page, you’ll be a top-14 defensive team at least, and obviously you can get much higher. As a general rule in the NBA, if you overcomplicate things and players are thinking instead of reacting, it’s hard. But if you can keep it simple, you know exactly where you’re going to be every single time. You want to eliminate confusion and them thinking about ‘Should I be here or there?’ Just really try to keep it simple and play to their strengths.”